The exciting ways Alberta can triumph
Diversification of Alberta’s energy industry is leading to a new and significant input to municipal tax revenues from wind and solar projects.
Since the revenues were first estimated in 2017, payments to southern Alberta municipalities have tripled to $28 million, according to our new analysis. This cash gives communities the freedom to lower taxes, tackle critical projects or provide additional services.
Eight of the 18 municipalities that are home to wind and solar projects received $1 million or more. In some cases, this money makes up a significant percentage of their total operating revenues.
It adds up to 50 per cent in the County of Forty Mile. For the Municipal District of Pincher Creek, it’s 31 per cent, while the Municipal District of Willow Creek follows closely with 29 per cent.
These are not insignificant amounts for jurisdictions with a small tax base, some with dwindling oil and gas activity. Wind and solar projects won’t run out of energy, so these are long-term, reliable revenue streams that will allow municipalities to plan for the future.
The forecasts for these funds show additional prosperity just over the horizon. Based on the projects that were lined up before the Alberta government’s moratorium announcement, an additional $170 million to $250 million in revenues could bolster municipal budgets in just a few years.
Given these numbers, it’s unsurprising that a recent Pembina Institute poll showed 75 per cent of Albertans — including 66 per cent living outside of Edmonton and Calgary — would like to see more renewable energy projects in their communities.
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